JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For years, the F-D-A’s guidelines heavily prohibited gay and bisexual men from donating blood. A practice that was put into place over concerns of H-I-V contamination. But now, the F-D-A is rolling out new guidelines.
“We’re going to ask everybody the same questions, give everybody the same opportunity to donate and save lives,” said Dr. Christopher Lough, with Lifesouth Community Blood Centers.
Dr. Lough explains that with the new rules, anyone looking to donate would fill out risk-based assessments, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Most notably, these changes will ask if you’ve had a new partner or multiple new partners in the last 3 months. if you ask yes to either of those, ask if you’ve had anal sex during either of those encounters, if so, that’s a three-month deferral,” said Lough.
The new rules mean most gay and bisexual men who are in a monogamous relationship with a man will no longer have to abstain from sex in order to donate.
Dr. Lough says blood center donations typically run on a 3-day supply of blood. So, if there’s ever a day of short supply, it can have an impact on the community.
“There are patients in need every day. and we really encourage you to come and donate,” Lough said.
Lifesouth is working behind the scenes and making the necessary changes to its computer systems and training. You can look for updates on Lifesouth.org